Don't you think making all the french pieces would be a waste since you really won't get the chance to use them. It would be like classic again with the Russian cv's and bb's. I'd rather see the effort and money put into pieces to represent Air and Naval bases.
No. And it certainly wouldn't be a waste to do the Italian pieces right since they are sticking around.
It isn't a $25 game with generic pieces, it is a $100 game. I find it surprising that with so much other attention to detail, and the obvious interest in the European theater (since it sold out quickly) that the decision was made not to do it right the first time. It would seem to be a logical stepping stone to expanding the game anyway.
As for air and naval bases, I don't mind the cardboard pieces. They aren't mobile anyway and really are only markers for the territory, not units.